Monday, February 7, 2011


Wednesday, April 4, 2007 HONG KONG

Slept in this morning and met Gene and Gena for breakfast at 8 am; we’re going to the Museums in Kowloon together today. It’s a free day and some are going to Lanau Island to see the large Buddha on top of the mountain. They will have a much longer subway ride and then take a cable car to the top of the mountain before their hike.

We left the hotel at 9 am and walked across the street to the subway. Purchased our tickets at the machine and headed to the blue line towards Sheung Wan. We did the Chinese cram and managed to get on the first car. A very clean and efficient subway system! We’re all very impressed with Hong Kong; very clean, modern and much like visiting New York City. Our stop at Central was two before the end.

Leaving the subway at Central we were surprised when the exit machine kept our tickets; we’d planned to keep them for souvenirs. Somewhat lost we had a nice gentleman who stopped to give us directions to the ferry building. We thought the ferry was free for seniors but found we had to pay HK$3.20 each and then found that it was a different boat. But, we had a nice visit with a Chinese girl, here from Mainland China on business, who had on a running suit that said “Napoli” on the back. This gave the boys an opening and she was very open and everyone enjoyed conversing with her until the boat arrived.

When we landed we were not where we’d planned to be but as luck would have it we were closer to the Hong Kong Museum of History at this location. We arrived right at 10 am, opening time, and since Wednesdays are free admittance the place was packed with groups of school children of all ages. But, it was fun watching them as we worked our way through the museum. Many of them ran from exhibit to exhibit with their digital cameras and others were diligently taking notes. They were almost all in their school uniforms that made it easier for the teachers to keep track of their groups. This Museum opened in 2001 and has over 7000 sq ft of exhibit space. I learned more than I’ll ever use but it was very interesting. I think the best part was on the Japanese occupation during World War Two and the exhibit on the Opium Wars.

About 1:00 pm we stopped at the Museum Coffee Shop and tried to order sandwiches; they were on the posted menu on the wall but no such luck. We ended up with noodle soup; ours had a fried egg and two slices of ham on the top. Very tasty and filled the bill. Gene asked for a glass so he and Gena could share their drink; he was told to take two straws.

Afterwards we walked towards the Hong Kong Museum of Art with a stop along the way at the very old and elegant Peninsula Hotel. We strolled in and snapped a few photos before we were politely told that we were not allowed to take photos. Beautiful hotel and they were having high tea at the time complete with live classical music; but we were definitely not dressed to stay for tea!

The Hong Kong Museum of Art was built in 1991 but is also very modern and well laid out on four floors. We spent an hour there viewing their exhibits, Actually, I found a soft seat with views of the harbor and enjoyed my hour a bit differently from the others watching the boats, the view of Hong Kong and the people.

Our trip home to Hong Kong was rather uneventful except for minor problems getting Gena’s subway ticket to work; she had to take it to the Assistance Window to make it work. So nice that it was not crowded like this morning. By the way, we found the right ferry boat and yes, there was a special line for seniors and we rode back for free. On the ferry boat there was a group of students that kept turning around and taking photos of the strange looking tourists. We are definitely the minority here in China. Back at the hotel before 4 pm we had time to shower, pack the suitcases and rest before our farewell dinner tonight at 6:15 pm in the hotel. We’ve been told that we will not be able to take our water bottles to Cambodia with us as the rules at the Hong Kong International Airport are based on the European and American rules; liquids in a plastic bag, etc. It will be interesting to see if we have to remove our shoes. I haven’t had to take my shoes off or remove my computer from my carryon bag since we arrived in China. We’ve also been carrying our water bottles on the flights with us; even coming into Hong Kong. They did ask us not to carry sharp instruments, etc. in our carryon bags.

Tonight we had our farewell dinner in the hotel. It was a first class buffet with seafood, beef, duck, chicken and vegetables of all types and preparations, salads; so much more than any of us expected. The desserts were a minefield of delights; tiny samples of multiple delicacies that melted in your mouth. And, the meal was served with style and a smile by a very attentive staff. It was sad to say goodbye and goodnight to half of our group, but they’ll be with us in spirit as we’ve really become a “unit” under mother Jo’s guidance and care.

I’m not sure what I’m going to find in Cambodia tomorrow. We fly out about 11 am, a stop in Bangkok, and then Cambodia before dinner. We’ve been told that Cambodia is a “developing country” and all we’ve been promised is a hotel room that has air-conditioning and a bathroom. We’re staying four nights in Siem Reap.

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